Bloody Nasreen is a 27-year-old girl-next-door from Pakistan who dispatches villains with sword and gun while tackling corruption and human trafficking. Courtesy Shahan Zaidi
Bloody Nasreen is a 27-year-old girl-next-door from Pakistan who dispatches villains with sword and gun while tackling corruption and human trafficking. Courtesy Shahan Zaidi

Bloody Nasreen is a street-fighting woman from Karachi - and she’s uncovered



Blazing eyes, flying hair, looks that could kill. The main character of Shahan Zaidi's English-­language graphic novel Bloody Nasreen is 27, smokes cigarettes and kills without pity. Pakistan's first unveiled heroine wields a gun in her right hand and a sword in her left, but her attire – she wears a shalwar kameez and sneakers – is not the image you'd expect of a ruthless crimefighter.

But there was a strong reason for the Lahore-based Zaidi, 31, to dress the heroine of his 100-page graphic novel this way.

“I wanted my heroine to portray a regular girl-next-door from Karachi, someone every Pakistani girl could relate to,” says Zaidi. He hasn’t endowed Nasreen with any superpowers, explaining that she “picked up fighting skills along the way”.

Zaidi also wanted to keep the character away from any religious activity or implications. So he chose to name her Nasreen because “it is a very common name in Pakistan, it could belong to a girl from any region or sect”. The 100-page novel is likely to hit the stands late next month or August.

The idea

Nasreen was conceptualised long before Burka Avenger, Pakistan's first superheroine, who appears in her own animated television series. But Nasreen languished in Zaidi's sketch book for four years, until 2009, when he shared his illustrations with friends and noticed the growing interest.

“Men fell for her looks and women loved her nerve,” says Zaidi, who chose to set the story in the 2030s, where Nasreen fights issues such as human trafficking and corruption.

The inspiration

Zaidi grew up on a diet of Vertigo and Constantine comics and says he is inspired by female-focused movies such as Shekar Kapur's Bandit Queen (1995) and Kill Bill (2003), starring Uma Thurman. He was only 17 when he published his first comic series, Blizzard, in a popular Pakistani weekly. Having found his calling, he educated himself in graphic art by signing up for online courses, as well as a stint with www.itchyfingerz.com, a leading mobile applications and game company in Lahore.

A growing fan base

Nasreen has attracted enormous attention on social media and generated plenty of debate, especially over her outfit, which does not include a dupatta (scarf).

But Zaidi is unperturbed. “How can she keep a dupatta in place when she’s running or jumping off high buildings?” he asks, saying he wanted his heroine to be as realistic as possible.

Nasreen on film

Bloody Nasreen has generated a great deal of interest among Pakistani filmmakers, and The Crew Films company of Karachi finally landed the deal. The writer and producer Faisal Rafi, who is likely to produce the film, says: "There are hardly any stories being made into films that are set in Karachi. In Nasreen, we see an opportunity to express the deeper truth and lies about our city. It is a brilliant character with a unique premise." Pre-production is underway, but the main cast and the director of the film have not yet been announced.

Teaching your child to save

Pre-school (three - five years)

You can’t yet talk about investing or borrowing, but introduce a “classic” money bank and start putting gifts and allowances away. When the child wants a specific toy, have them save for it and help them track their progress.

Early childhood (six - eight years)

Replace the money bank with three jars labelled ‘saving’, ‘spending’ and ‘sharing’. Have the child divide their allowance into the three jars each week and explain their choices in splitting their pocket money. A guide could be 25 per cent saving, 50 per cent spending, 25 per cent for charity and gift-giving.

Middle childhood (nine - 11 years)

Open a bank savings account and help your child establish a budget and set a savings goal. Introduce the notion of ‘paying yourself first’ by putting away savings as soon as your allowance is paid.

Young teens (12 - 14 years)

Change your child’s allowance from weekly to monthly and help them pinpoint long-range goals such as a trip, so they can start longer-term saving and find new ways to increase their saving.

Teenage (15 - 18 years)

Discuss mutual expectations about university costs and identify what they can help fund and set goals. Don’t pay for everything, so they can experience the pride of contributing.

Young adulthood (19 - 22 years)

Discuss post-graduation plans and future life goals, quantify expenses such as first apartment, work wardrobe, holidays and help them continue to save towards these goals.

* JP Morgan Private Bank 

JOKE'S ON YOU

Google wasn't new to busting out April Fool's jokes: before the Gmail "prank", it tricked users with mind-reading MentalPlex responses and said well-fed pigeons were running its search engine operations .

In subsequent years, they announced home internet services through your toilet with its "patented GFlush system", made us believe the Moon's surface was made of cheese and unveiled a dating service in which they called founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page "Stanford PhD wannabes ".

But Gmail was all too real, purportedly inspired by one – a single – Google user complaining about the "poor quality of existing email services" and born "millions of M&Ms later".

Fanney Khan

Producer: T-Series, Anil Kapoor Productions, ROMP, Prerna Arora

Director: Atul Manjrekar

Cast: Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Rajkummar Rao, Pihu Sand

Rating: 2/5 

SPEC SHEET: APPLE IPHONE 14

Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2532 x 1170, 460ppi, HDR, True Tone, P3, 1200 nits

Processor: A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine 

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Dual 12MP main (f/1.5) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4); 2x optical, 5x digital; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps; HD slo-mo @ 120/240fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4; Animoji, Memoji; Portrait Lighting

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD slo-mo @ 120fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 3279 mAh, up to 20h video, 16h streaming video, 80h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30m; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + SIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Blue, midnight, purple, starlight, Product Red

In the box: iPhone 14, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh3,399 / Dh3,799 / Dh4,649

Du Football Champions

The fourth season of du Football Champions was launched at Gitex on Wednesday alongside the Middle East’s first sports-tech scouting platform.“du Talents”, which enables aspiring footballers to upload their profiles and highlights reels and communicate directly with coaches, is designed to extend the reach of the programme, which has already attracted more than 21,500 players in its first three years.

MATCH INFO

Inter Milan 1 (Martinez 18' pen)

Juventus 2 (Dybala 4', Higuain 80')

TO CATCH A KILLER

Director: Damian Szifron

Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Ralph Ineson

Rating: 2/5

Hamilton’s 2017

Australia - 2nd; China - 1st; Bahrain - 2nd; Russia - 4th; Spain - 1st; Monaco - 7th; Canada - 1st; Azerbaijan - 5th; Austria - 4th; Britain - 1st; Hungary - 4th; Belgium - 1st; Italy - 1st; Singapore - 1st; Malaysia - 2nd; Japan - 1st; United States - 1st; Mexico - 9th

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Stree

Producer: Maddock Films, Jio Movies
Director: Amar Kaushik
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee
Rating: 3.5

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

All or Nothing

Amazon Prime

Four stars

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

THE BIO

Occupation: Specialised chief medical laboratory technologist

Age: 78

Favourite destination: Always Al Ain “Dar Al Zain”

Hobbies: his work  - “ the thing which I am most passionate for and which occupied all my time in the morning and evening from 1963 to 2019”

Other hobbies: football

Favorite football club: Al Ain Sports Club

 

Paris Agreement

Article 14

1. [The Cop] shall periodically take stock of the implementation of this Agreement to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of this Agreement and its long-term goals (referred to as the "global stocktake")

2. [The Cop] shall undertake its first global stocktake in 2023 and every five years thereafter 

Name: Colm McLoughlin

Country: Galway, Ireland

Job: Executive vice chairman and chief executive of Dubai Duty Free

Favourite golf course: Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club

Favourite part of Dubai: Palm Jumeirah

 

Poacher

Director: Richie Mehta

Starring: Nimisha Sajayan, Roshan Mathew, Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Rating: 3/5

Sreesanth's India bowling career

Tests 27, Wickets 87, Average 37.59, Best 5-40

ODIs 53, Wickets 75, Average 33.44, Best 6-55

T20Is 10, Wickets 7, Average 41.14, Best 2-12

How the UAE gratuity payment is calculated now

Employees leaving an organisation are entitled to an end-of-service gratuity after completing at least one year of service.

The tenure is calculated on the number of days worked and does not include lengthy leave periods, such as a sabbatical. If you have worked for a company between one and five years, you are paid 21 days of pay based on your final basic salary. After five years, however, you are entitled to 30 days of pay. The total lump sum you receive is based on the duration of your employment.

1. For those who have worked between one and five years, on a basic salary of Dh10,000 (calculation based on 30 days):

a. Dh10,000 ÷ 30 = Dh333.33. Your daily wage is Dh333.33

b. Dh333.33 x 21 = Dh7,000. So 21 days salary equates to Dh7,000 in gratuity entitlement for each year of service. Multiply this figure for every year of service up to five years.

2. For those who have worked more than five years

c. 333.33 x 30 = Dh10,000. So 30 days’ salary is Dh10,000 in gratuity entitlement for each year of service.

Note: The maximum figure cannot exceed two years total salary figure.

MATCH DETAILS

Chelsea 4 

Jorginho (4 pen, 71 pen), Azpilicueta (63), James (74)

Ajax 4

Abraham (2 og), Promes (20). Kepa (35 og), van de Beek (55) 

The specs: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupe


Price, base: Dh201,153
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Power: 204hp @ 5,800rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 1,600rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 6.7L / 100km

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

'Saand Ki Aankh'

Produced by: Reliance Entertainment with Chalk and Cheese Films
Director: Tushar Hiranandani
Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Bhumi Pednekar, Prakash Jha, Vineet Singh
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

Top investing tips for UAE residents in 2021

Build an emergency fund: Make sure you have enough cash to cover six months of expenses as a buffer against unexpected problems before you begin investing, advises Steve Cronin, the founder of DeadSimpleSaving.com.

Think long-term: When you invest, you need to have a long-term mindset, so don’t worry about momentary ups and downs in the stock market.

Invest worldwide: Diversify your investments globally, ideally by way of a global stock index fund.

Is your money tied up: Avoid anything where you cannot get your money back in full within a month at any time without any penalty.

Skip past the promises: “If an investment product is offering more than 10 per cent return per year, it is either extremely risky or a scam,” Mr Cronin says.

Choose plans with low fees: Make sure that any funds you buy do not charge more than 1 per cent in fees, Mr Cronin says. “If you invest by yourself, you can easily stay below this figure.” Managed funds and commissionable investments often come with higher fees.

Be sceptical about recommendations: If someone suggests an investment to you, ask if they stand to gain, advises Mr Cronin. “If they are receiving commission, they are unlikely to recommend an investment that’s best for you.”

Get financially independent: Mr Cronin advises UAE residents to pursue financial independence. Start with a Google search and improve your knowledge via expat investing websites or Facebook groups such as SimplyFI. 

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: OneOrder
Started: March 2022
Founders: Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice
Based: Cairo
Number of staff: 82
Investment stage: Series A

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”


The Arts Edit

A guide to arts and culture, from a Middle Eastern perspective

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      The Arts Edit